Am I missing something

After reading hundreds of comments on Sneak Attack I was prepared for it to really be an issue when our group had two Rogues.

After playing though it turned out to be a non-issue.  Both of them got the Sneak Attack requisites at least as often as they would have needed to in any other iteration of D&D.   The ranged rogue/sniper took up a position and picked his targets with care, either ones he was hidden from or ones already engaged in melee.  The melee rogue slipped though the battlefield, staying in the shadows or slipping a knife into the enemy the cleric was facing down. 

In short...they played like Rogues, not Fighters and it worked splendidly.
The issue isnt really a "what they play like" one, but more of a issue with damage output.

Rogues are traditionally strikers, with a good deal of damage output, albeit burst damage. Now they are simply inferior to fighter in almost every way.
Sneak attack is just power attack but with prerequisits to accomplish. The fighter can just do it anyway.

In short the issue is the rogue plays like a rogue without the oomph. 
The issue isnt really a "what they play like" one, but more of a issue with damage output.

Rogues are traditionally strikers, with a good deal of damage output, albeit burst damage. Now they are simply inferior to fighter in almost every way.
Sneak attack is just power attack but with prerequisits to accomplish. The fighter can just do it anyway.

In short the issue is the rogue plays like a rogue without the oomph. 



Ah...there's the problem then.  I've never seen a Rogue as a "striker".  That's a 4E conceit that I don't buy and one I'm glad that D&D Next seems to be getting away from.  As far back as basic D&D, Rogues were okay in combat, nothing stellar, unless they got into position in which case they got a tad more damage.  Until 4E Rogues survived by their wits, by careful playing and maneuvering on the field and byt very specifically NOT being any sort of fighter unless it was a knife in the back.

Unfortunately its pretty sub par even as backup damage.

The fighter should hands down out damge the rogue.
The rogue should situationally spike above the fighter on some rounds.

As it stands.

The fighter hands down outdamages the rogue.
The rogue cant spike above the fighter without relying on a crit.

Its that subtle little thing thats the issue.
personally I think the skill monkey approach isnt quite right for the rogue so they have the worst possible look out of all the packets. 

I've never seen the rogue as a striker either, but their backstab should be pretty devastating in any interpretation. Actually my problem with rogues isn't to do with sneak attack (though I'd like it to be better) but to do with that their schemes are half baked fighting styles with no unique maneuvers.


I don't want the rogue to share.

I had a rogue in 3.5E (converted to PF) sporting DPR in the 90-110 range at 10th level. Looked like a striker to me.

I think the problem is that SA has requirements to use but with no gain compared to the Fighter's Deadly Strike which is exactly the same without requirements. What are we gaining by imposing thses restrictions on one version than anothef and is it right? I, personally, don't think its a god idea and makes it almost a non-option rather than a good, but not required choice.
1st Edition Thief - Backstabbing x2 damage/4 levels (Double at 1-4, Triple at 5-8, quadruple at 9-12).
2nd Edition Theif - As above
3.5 Rogue - Sneak Attack +1d6, +1d6 each odd numbered level.
4E Rogue - +2d6 levels 1-10, +3d6 11-20th, +5d6 21st-30th.
DND Next - Level 1 (1d4), Levels 2-3 (1d6), Levels 4-7 (2d6), Levels 8-9 (2d8), Level 10 (3d10)

So if we take a Rogue with a shortsword (1d6) and figure out average damage at 3.5...  I'm not counting in damage bonuses, feats, magic or anything else since the point of this is about Sneak Attack and not anything else.

1st/2nd Edition - Levels 1-4 = 7 damage, levels 5-8 = 10.5 damage, levels 9-12 = 14 damage.
3.5 Edition - Level 1 = 7 damage, level 3 = 10.5 damage, level 5 = 14 damage, level 7 = 17.5 damage, level 9 = 21 damage
4E - Levels 1-10 = 10.5 damage
DND Next - Level 1 = 6 damage, level 2-3 = 7 damagae, levels 8-9 = 12.5 damage, level 10 = 20 damage.

So it looks to be pretty much right on target with previous iterations when you take into account the Hit Points of the opposition.  Every version of Sneak Attack/Backstabbing has had positioning requirements (and some only worked on humanoids).  Many of them don't max out the damage on a critical hit.

I don't think it's so much a matter of Sneak Attack being nerfed, as its the same as it ever was.  I think it's the addition of Deadly Strike to the Fighter's arsenal.
>>
I don't think it's so much a matter of Sneak Attack being nerfed, as its the same as it ever was.  I think it's the addition of Deadly Strike to the Fighter's arsenal.
>>

That's a good point, and that's certainly part of it. The other part is that with backgrounds and specializations, anyone can open locks, disarm traps, and sneak around. Which is actually great. That leaves skill specialization as a unique rogue thing, and that may not be enough reason to take the class, when you could be a rogue-ish wizard, fighter or cleric instead.

As-is, the rogue class is marginal at best. So the question is - dial back the versatility that's available to the other classes right now; diversify the rogue class some more; or do away with rogue as a class altogether.

I don't like the idea of dialing back versatility. The freedom that backgrounds and specializations give you in making just the character you want is great, and I'd rather not see it get restricted just so one class that is struggling for a reason to be gains a reason to be.
I don't think getting rid of the class altogether is a smart move for the playing populace at large, they expect rogue as a class, and you'd alienate customers by getting rid of it altogether.
That leaves doing something to the rogue class to make it stand out as the most rogueish of rogues, without taking away the ability to play a rogue-like character in any class.
 
imho, give the rogue a choice of fighting styles at creation to benefit everyone.

An option for pure striker
An option for skill monkey
An option for ... no better term... assassination (deadly backstab, subpar up close combat)
 

I might be misunderstanding but isn't part of the problem also because the dice are spent in the sneak attack? That means you can only do so many in a given fight, which severely curtails the damage dealt.


Or have I got the wrong end of the stick there? There's nothing explicit in the rogue's description of exptertise apart from the word "spend".



That's a good point, and that's certainly part of it. The other part is that with backgrounds and specializations, anyone can open locks, disarm traps, and sneak around. Which is actually great. That leaves skill specialization as a unique rogue thing, and that may not be enough reason to take the class, when you could be a rogue-ish wizard, fighter or cleric instead.

 



Other classes can get the skills for Listen, Sneak, Disable Device etc BUT only Rogues get proficiency with Thieves Tools.  "Characters proficient with thieves tools can use them to find and disarm traps and to open locks.  Normally, these tasks are impossible without appropriate tools."  That's the bread and butter of the Rogue class, the ability to detect and disable traps and bypass locks.  At times those abilities have been "Thief" only skills, sometimes the class simply gets more skill points so they can buy them at higher levels then others and in this case they're the only class proficient with the necessary gear which I quite like.

To the point at hand though, I don't think Sneak Attack is the issue at all.  The addition of Deadly Strike to the Fighter is what needs to go or be changed.  If the Fighter is using a bigger weapon and usually has the Strength to back it up then isn't every strike deadly by default?  Do we really need a 10th Level Fighter throwing an extra 3d10 damage into every attack?

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My issue is on of approach and perception.

To me, the fighter is trained for conventional combat. They don't practice underhanded tactics. They focus on straight and proper melee or ranged attacks.

The rogue, on the other hand, does not practice combat anywhere as much. Therefore they focus their combat on tricks, quick kills, and cheating. Therefore his normal attack is often weaker than a fighter but in certain situations, the rogue can deal heavy damage or inflict a condition.

Why can't fighter deal the heavy but situational damage of a rogue? Because he never trained to do it because he shouldn't need it.

The issue is which you think should be more damaging: the fighter's best offensive attack or the rogue's situational sneak attack?

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I might be misunderstanding but isn't part of the problem also because the dice are spent in the sneak attack? That means you can only do so many in a given fight, which severely curtails the damage dealt.


Or have I got the wrong end of the stick there? There's nothing explicit in the rogue's description of exptertise apart from the word "spend".


Not spending the expertise dice is exactly the kind of reward the rogue could get to compensate the prerequisite of sneak attack. But then, what benefit would the dice then be before reaching level 4 and gaining a second maneuver to spend dice on?

I might be misunderstanding but isn't part of the problem also because the dice are spent in the sneak attack? That means you can only do so many in a given fight, which severely curtails the damage dealt.


Or have I got the wrong end of the stick there? There's nothing explicit in the rogue's description of exptertise apart from the word "spend".


Not spending the expertise dice is exactly the kind of reward the rogue could get to compensate the prerequisite of sneak attack. But then, what benefit would the dice then be before reaching level 4 and gaining a second maneuver to spend dice on?



aha so you do spend the dice. Thought so. That's actually the problem then, I think.


Sneak attack requires a condition be met before you do it, deadly strike doesn't. Sneak attack therefore should not consume dice when used, but it should only use what dice you have left.


As for what to do with the dice before lvl 4, I don't really see that it has to do anything. The sneak attack is enough (at least at first) and it lets the dice build up a bit before they start getting options, which means they will usually have some left over. That's not to say that they couldn't have options early on, just that between sneak attack and skill mastery it's not urgent in my mind.


As for what to do with the dice before lvl 4, I don't really see that it has to do anything. The sneak attack is enough (at least at first) and it lets the dice build up a bit before they start getting options, which means they will usually have some left over. That's not to say that they couldn't have options early on, just that between sneak attack and skill mastery it's not urgent in my mind.



I had not seen that skill mastery was granted freely. My mistake.
So to utilize the non-spending of SA you would need to use skill mastery in combat. I suppose you would have an easier time hiding without losing extra damage from SA.
Another option is that the rogue can make several sneak attacks in a turn (if he somehow gets more attacks).


That's a good point, and that's certainly part of it. The other part is that with backgrounds and specializations, anyone can open locks, disarm traps, and sneak around. Which is actually great. That leaves skill specialization as a unique rogue thing, and that may not be enough reason to take the class, when you could be a rogue-ish wizard, fighter or cleric instead.

 



Other classes can get the skills for Listen, Sneak, Disable Device etc BUT only Rogues get proficiency with Thieves Tools.  "Characters proficient with thieves tools can use them to find and disarm traps and to open locks.  Normally, these tasks are impossible without appropriate tools."  That's the bread and butter of the Rogue class, the ability to detect and disable traps and bypass locks.



The way I read the Guild Thief background, it also grants proficiency with Thieves' Tools.

The reason is that the background explicitly states that you "learned to neutralize traps and locks with uncanny skill", then adds the Disable Device skill, and suggests Thieves' Tools as starter equipment.  

Since Thieves' Tools are required to disarm traps and open locks, you cannot possibly have "uncanny skill" in doing these tasks without knowing how to use Thieves' Tools. Without Thieves' Tools proficiency, a large part of the Guild Thief Background is pointless. Backgrounds are open to any class to diversify that class; the background is not meant to be pointless. The description can be taken as being honest, you really do have "uncanny skill". QED.

Since this ability is in one background, it can be pulled into custom backgrounds, as well. You could make an "arcane thief" background, maybe without balance and sneak and search, because you use wizard abilities / spells for that.

I like this versatility. I really think it's awesome that we are no longer so tightly constrained by class. It does beg the question of why we need a rogue class, and this is a good thing. I've seen groups go "okay who will be the rogue -- come on -- nobody?" so often. Not everyone enjoys being a trap monkey, or a trap monkey that can hit hard from the shadows. Taking "disable trap" and making that available to any class - with trade-offs of course, this means you want decent INT and it does take one of your skill slots in your background - is a breath of fresh air.
 

I might be misunderstanding but isn't part of the problem also because the dice are spent in the sneak attack? That means you can only do so many in a given fight, which severely curtails the damage dealt.


Or have I got the wrong end of the stick there? There's nothing explicit in the rogue's description of exptertise apart from the word "spend".




You spend the dice to use Sneak Attack.  Then they replenish at the end of your turn.  Then you use them to enhance your Stealth check.  Then they replenish at the end of your turn.  Then you use them to Sneak Attack, then they replenish at the end of your turn.

In our case, the sniper got to use his Sneak Attack on ever single attack he made between picking targets that he had concealment from and picking off ones already in melee combat.  Every attack he made for 6 rounds of combat.

They are not a finite resource.

The "is in the reach of a creature friendly to you" is a mild prerequisite, that is true, but it's still a bit more prereq than Deadly Strike.


The way I read the Guild Thief background, it also grants proficiency with Thieves' Tools.

The reason is that the background explicitly states that you "learned to neutralize traps and locks with uncanny skill", then adds the Disable Device skill, and suggests Thieves' Tools as starter equipment.  

Since Thieves' Tools are required to disarm traps and open locks, you cannot possibly have "uncanny skill" in doing these tasks without knowing how to use Thieves' Tools. Without Thieves' Tools proficiency, a large part of the Guild Thief Background is pointless. Backgrounds are open to any class to diversify that class; the background is not meant to be pointless. The description can be taken as being honest, you really do have "uncanny skill". QED.

Since this ability is in one background, it can be pulled into custom backgrounds, as well. You could make an "arcane thief" background, maybe without balance and sneak and search, because you use wizard abilities / spells for that.

I like this versatility. I really think it's awesome that we are no longer so tightly constrained by class. It does beg the question of why we need a rogue class, and this is a good thing. I've seen groups go "okay who will be the rogue -- come on -- nobody?" so often. Not everyone enjoys being a trap monkey, or a trap monkey that can hit hard from the shadows. Taking "disable trap" and making that available to any class - with trade-offs of course, this means you want decent INT and it does take one of your skill slots in your background - is a breath of fresh air.
 



Guild Thief implies that you gain proficiency with the tools but doesn't outright say you do.  It definitely needs to be clarified.  Maybe what each Background needs is a) Skills, b) Mechanical Benefit and c) RP Benefit.  So the Guild Theif could include "Proficiency with Thieves Tools" as a Mechanical Benefit.

I think what may help is to have the Rogue Maneauvers move away from combat and more into the realm of being a traditional (by which I mean non-striker) Thief.  Skill Mastery is a start.  Maybe something that allows you to spend Expertise dice to do a Skill check and another action.  Maybe something that allows you to distract the enemy by lowering their AC.  They need to be substantially different from the fighter, especially if the one thing they can do (Thieves Tools) is part of a Background.


I think what may help is to have the Rogue Maneauvers move away from combat and more into the realm of being a traditional (by which I mean non-striker) Thief.  Skill Mastery is a start.  Maybe something that allows you to spend Expertise dice to do a Skill check and another action.  Maybe something that allows you to distract the enemy by lowering their AC.  They need to be substantially different from the fighter, especially if the one thing they can do (Thieves Tools) is part of a Background.



I couldn't agree more. What this allows someone to do is to create a "combat rogue" by simply taking a DEX/INT-based fighter, adding Guild Thief and one of Stealth/Investigate/Skill speciality. Which is a rogue, though the class says "fighter", and that's fine. It's similar to how my group is building "rangers" right now.

And the rogue class proper could be what you envision, a class that moves further toward utility and debuff. Maybe combat ability is retained by boosting sneak attack a bit, for example by not having it require the actual expenditure of an expertise die.

I am curious to see where Wizards will take this. Giving us this much flexibility makes class specialization tricky. I don't want to see them restrict what backgrounds and specializations can do and be, though. Right now, the system, though it has some rough edges, feels like you can really make the character you envision in your head, without being restricted too much by game mechanics and what a particular class may allow you to do.


And the rogue class proper could be what you envision, a class that moves further toward utility and debuff. Maybe combat ability is retained by boosting sneak attack a bit, for example by not having it require the actual expenditure of an expertise die.




I still don't see why people keep bring up this "spend an exertise die".  Its not a big thing.  Its not even a little thing.  It comes back, often right after its used.  Sure its not available if you use it for something else before the end of your turn rolls around, but them's the breaks.

Perhaps what's needed is a much clearer separation of the roles.  I do like how 4E had Defender/Striker/Leader/Controller even if I don't agree with how those choices were implemented.

Something like

Combatant - Good weapon and armor selection, good hit points and a selection of combat based maneuvers
Arcane Caster - Low weapon and armor selection and hit points but powerful spells
Divine Caster - Medium weapon and armor selection and hit points, combination of weapon and magic abilities
Support - Medium weapon and armor selection and hit points, increased skills and buff/debuff based maneuvers.

As a general framework I think it would work quite well.  Gives a basis to design abilities around, lets you easily slot in pretty much any class and one can easily imagine background or specialties that let you pick up some abilities from another "type".

OK so the thief tool proficiency is kind of a neat idea and I agree that the background should enable the tool use for skills it grants, but I don't think it should grant tool use for skills a player doesn't pick.


So someone who's gone guild thief wizard and the pick lock skill but not the trap finding skills would be able to use the tools for picking locks but not for removing traps.


The rogue, on the other hand, would be able to use the tools for all applications regardless of whether they picked the skill.



Something about it doesn't sit right with me though.


OK so the thief tool proficiency is kind of a neat idea and I agree that the background should enable the tool use for skills it grants, but I don't think it should grant tool use for skills a player doesn't pick.


So someone who's gone guild thief wizard and the pick lock skill but not the trap finding skills would be able to use the tools for picking locks but not for removing traps.


The rogue, on the other hand, would be able to use the tools for all applications regardless of whether they picked the skill.




Sounds about right. The skill is the same in all cases btw, "Disable Device", and it grants a bonus to the Dex check, working the same way all skills do.

I like the idea that rogues have Thieves' Tools proficiency without picking up Disable Device - explicitly stated in their class - and everyone else has to take Disable Device in order to be able to do the same thing.
 
@fougerec Okay, I hear you on expertise die, you are right, it's not a thing. As for roles, right now, 5E is very very fluid about that, and you can skew a character one way or another. From a design perspective, the question is: Stick with the current model, which uses fewer but very flexible classes, or create more classes with clear distinctions between them. Either could work. For example, if Wizards sticks with fewer classes, they could flesh them out by suggesting certain background/specialty combos that skew them one way or another to get people's minds working.
 
One more thought on rogues: They are skill-heavy. Rogues, uniquely, have 8 skills (4 from class, 4 from background), where other classes usually get 4, and some have 5 (but limited to certain lore skills). Rogues have a maneuver that allows them to boost their success chances in trained skills even higher. Which means a rogue will always be better than any other class in skill-based tasks.
Now the question is, rightly, how could the class be further developed in this general direction to become uniquely distinguished.
 
imho, give the rogue a choice of fighting styles at creation to benefit everyone.

An option for pure striker
An option for skill monkey
An option for ... no better term... assassination (deadly backstab, subpar up close combat)
 



While I like this logic, in the end, it creates more issues than it solves.  Some people will then start complaining why their rogue can't be a skill monkey and a deadly backstabber with pure striker ability.  That, or someone will figure out how to create such a character fair and square.  In my opinion, make then seperate classes and be done with it.  This way there's no chance of cross-polinization.
I don't think it's so much a matter of Sneak Attack being nerfed, as its the same as it ever was.  I think it's the addition of Deadly Strike to the Fighter's arsenal.

In all fairness, 1e and 2e it was the DM who decided whether or not you got backstab and it was often fairly arbitrary or based on rediculously hard Hide and Move Silently spells. If you got that backstab off more than once, hack, if you even got it of at all, you were lucky. Of course, if you did get it off, you more often than not killed the poor victim outright.

Mind you, I personally dislike big spike damage. When the 1ste level cleric in an earlier playtest one shotted the BBEG with 50 hit points it felt rather anticlimatic... and it is worse when it is something that monsters can use.

I think sneak attack has definitely been nerfed and it's the dice spending that's done it. Before, you'd get your sneak attack and roll all your dice. Later that round if you got another one, you'd roll all your dice again.


Now, if you sneak attack and roll all your dice, you're done. No maneuvers, no skill bonuses, no more sneak attacks. That's a pretty huge nerf.

I think SA is 100% fine where it is. However, a combat focused rogue should deal more damage. For less combat focused rogues the current SA I think is fine. Let a combat themed scheme grant extra dmg
My two copper.

I think sneak attack has definitely been nerfed and it's the dice spending that's done it. Before, you'd get your sneak attack and roll all your dice. Later that round if you got another one, you'd roll all your dice again.


Now, if you sneak attack and roll all your dice, you're done. No maneuvers, no skill bonuses, no more sneak attacks. That's a pretty huge nerf.




4E specifically states once/round for Sneak Attack.  Previous iterations did not though, though they had their own foibles.  So now you're left with the option of using some or all of your Expertise for the attack or saving some of it in case you need to buff a skill or your AC or whatever.  It means you need to play cagey, use your wits, strategize etc.  Since the dice reset at the end of your turn, if you use them for a Sneak Attack on your turn, they're still there for anything else that may come up for you to react to (if you have the Maneuvers for them), it just means that if you buff a Skill check or a saving throw then you'll have less oomph in your Sneak Attack.





I think sneak attack has definitely been nerfed and it's the dice spending that's done it. Before, you'd get your sneak attack and roll all your dice. Later that round if you got another one, you'd roll all your dice again.


Now, if you sneak attack and roll all your dice, you're done. No maneuvers, no skill bonuses, no more sneak attacks. That's a pretty huge nerf.




4E specifically states once/round for Sneak Attack. 


Until they changed it to 1/turn, anyway.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

I think sneak attack has definitely been nerfed and it's the dice spending that's done it. Before, you'd get your sneak attack and roll all your dice. Later that round if you got another one, you'd roll all your dice again.


Now, if you sneak attack and roll all your dice, you're done. No maneuvers, no skill bonuses, no more sneak attacks. That's a pretty huge nerf.


 

4E specifically states once/round for Sneak Attack.  Previous iterations did not though, though they had their own foibles.  So now you're left with the option of using some or all of your Expertise for the attack or saving some of it in case you need to buff a skill or your AC or whatever.  It means you need to play cagey, use your wits, strategize etc.  Since the dice reset at the end of your turn, if you use them for a Sneak Attack on your turn, they're still there for anything else that may come up for you to react to (if you have the Maneuvers for them), it just means that if you buff a Skill check or a saving throw then you'll have less oomph in your Sneak Attack.



OK so even if I set aside my own personal feelings on how many sneak attacks someone should potentially get a round (which is pretty much a moot point anyway 'cause rogues only get one attack/round), how do you resolve the discrepency created by deadly strike? I admit I misunderstood and thought the dice refreshed every encounter rather than every round. That makes a pretty big difference, but with only 1 action a round how does a pool of dice really help? What incentive do I have to not burn all my dice on the action I want to do?


The problem I see is the fighter has very clear incentives to manage their resource in the form of two attacks. Reactions are all well and good but I'd rather spend my dice on something I know will happen rather than holding them back for something that might happen. The fighter knows that they will have two opportunities to make their dice work for them, so they have a level of resource management that simply isn't present for the rogue.


Unless..


What if the rogue gained non attack actions? So the fighter gains an extra attack, the rogue gains an extra action that cannot be an attack.

Guild Thief implies that you gain proficiency with the tools but doesn't outright say you do.  It definitely needs to be clarified.


I agree with you on all count. it need to be clarified. I will pass this feedback along.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

From plague: 

Guild Thief currently doesn't grant proficiency with Thieves' Tools.

 
Which is strange. Because it implies it does. And it would be the only background that confers a skill that then cannot be used. I do hope Wizards rethinks this. 
Unless the tools are intended to provide a bonus that they only want rogues to have?
Unless the tools are intended to provide a bonus that they only want rogues to have?



The bonus being "you can attempt to unlock locks and disable traps". If proficiency with the tools is not part of Disable Device, then only rogues can (meaningfully) take Disable Device, and only rogues benefit from that part of the Guild Thief skill. This is not in line with how the rest of the skill and background system works.

To me, it'd feel like an artificial restriction to force people to make rogues. I'd rather have Disable Device available as a useable, meaningful skill to all classes (understanding that it's DEX and INT based), and leave Rogues to be the ones that are much better at this because they can:

- Spend expertise dice to boost their result
- Unlock things and disable traps even when they didn't take Disable Device
- Further enhancements to the rogue class, whatever those may be . Maybe they get a another point bonus out of Thieves' Tools that no one else gets.

 I really like the flexibility inferred in the Guild Thief background. I think if Wizards forces us to make rogues just for the purpose of disarming traps and opening locks, I would house-rule that Disable Device does confer proficiency with Thieves' Tools, just so I don't kill the fun my players are having.

yeah as it's written it's silly. But I was just thinking about thieves' tools nwn-style where they'd offer a bonus to the roll.


Course the DCs would then have to escalate. Not that I'd be worried about skills breaking bounded accuracy anyway, I think it's a weird philosophy to approach skills with in the first place.



No, it's probably just an oversight. The notion of being proficient with a tool that's designed for a skill but not knowing the skill is weird. The notion of knowing a skill but not being familiar enough with the tools involved to use them is equally weird.


No, it's probably just an oversight. The notion of being proficient with a tool that's designed for a skill but not knowing the skill is weird. The notion of knowing a skill but not being familiar enough with the tools involved to use them is equally weird.




I agree it's likely an oversight.

The skill system in 5e feels very different from previous editions, in that you don't need to have a skill to attempt something: The skill just gives you a bonus to the ability check. I like that, as well. It makes for more flexibility and feels "more natural". DM discretion will be the guiding factor here: If you spent your life in libraries and don't have the "obscure lore" skill, you can still do an INT check on obscure lore, just without a skill bonus. If you never set foot into a library in your life, the DM may reasonably forbid the ability check.

Along those lines, a rogue that can use Thieves' Tools and thus attempt DEX and INT checks against locks and traps, but doesn't have the Disable Device skill, makes sense to me. Maybe it's a more brawny, enforcer style of rogue, or a pick pocket who didn't need to deal with locks and traps much, but still picked up enough of it to be able to do it in a pinch: Just minus skill bonus, and thus also minus the additional expertise die bonus.

However, someone that trains Disable Device and then cannot use the tools needed to Disable a Device - yes, that's weird.

The skill system in 5e feels very different from previous editions, in that you don't need to have a skill to attempt something: The skill just gives you a bonus to the ability check. I like that, as well. It makes for more flexibility and feels "more natural". DM discretion will be the guiding factor here: If you spent your life in libraries and don't have the "obscure lore" skill, you can still do an INT check on obscure lore, just without a skill bonus. If you never set foot into a library in your life, the DM may reasonably forbid the ability check.



To be honest, I've always handled skills in that way. If someone didn't have a proficiency in something, I'd almost always let them have a go and just make the consequences for failure a lot worse than if they had training (they don't know how to minimise the damage).


Training meant they had a bonus to the attempt and their failures weren't going to create horrible problems as much.

OK so even if I set aside my own personal feelings on how many sneak attacks someone should potentially get a round (which is pretty much a moot point anyway 'cause rogues only get one attack/round), how do you resolve the discrepency created by deadly strike? I admit I misunderstood and thought the dice refreshed every encounter rather than every round. That makes a pretty big difference, but with only 1 action a round how does a pool of dice really help? What incentive do I have to not burn all my dice on the action I want to do?



It's a timing thing.  Some Rogue Maneuvers are used on the attack, some on the move and some out of combat (usually).  Let's imagine a 7th level Thief with Skill Mastery, Sneak Attack, Tumbling Dodge and Lightning Reflexes.

You have 2d6 Expertise.  On your move you can Tumble using 1d6 and then Sneak Attack using the other or just jab your sword into the enemy for +2d6, or go full defensive for a +11 to your AC (Tumbling Dodge and Dodge), or use Bluff to feint (using skill mastery to increase the odds of success) and Tumble.  However you want to spend those 2 dice you can.  Then they reset.

On the enemies turn though, seeing your high AC, it decides to hit you with an attack that requires a Dexterity Save.  You can use Lightning Reflexes BUT that limits your choices on the next turn, since the Expertise dice don't reset until the end of your turn.  So do you use 1d6 or 2d6?  Or none to save your options for your next turn.

5 of the Rogue Maneuvers are "reactionary", 3 are "attack", 3 are "move".  The odds of being able to use more than one on your turn are quite high.  Add in to that the fact that you could use Precise Shot and Sneak Attack or Opportunist and Sneak Attack or Spring Attack and Sneak Attack and there are quite a few times you don't want to put all your dice into one Maneuver.

Attack (Composed Attack, Precise Shot, Sneak Attack), Reaction (Controlled Fall, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Opportunist, Parry), Move (Spring Attack, Tumbling Dodge, Vault)
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I get why one might, I'd just choose to spend my dice on a sure thing over holding them back for a reaction that may or may not happen. That's something about expertise dice that isn't sitting right with me is since they refresh every round (as I didn't grok before) then there's no real incentive to save them for anything. Better that they get used on the things you know you can use them on for sure.


I still think it lacks all kinds of depth compared to the fighter. None of this actually deals with the big problem: the fighters have sneak attack too, only theirs doesn't require any tactical advantage to pull off, they get an extra attack to budget their dice for, they can do many of the utility things a rogue can with heroic exertion, they have better armour, better weapons, better weapon attack, better hp. Their maneuvers are almost identical, but they get more of them.



I think rogues should get something the fighter doesn't have that's a little more meaningful than a broader application of skills. Skills are great and they should keep that edge, but the maneuvers are mostly the same as the fighter's only the fighter gets more of everything.


What does the rogue get? If there is no answer to that question, what should the rogue get?


What does the rogue get? If there is no answer to that question, what should the rogue get?




1) Take Deadly Attack away from the Fighter.  Its not necessary and downplays the Rogue's Contribution.

2)  I'd add in Maneuvers that bugg an ally or debuff an enemy (to use MMO terms). 
Distraction - Roll your Expertise dice and subtract the highest from the target's AC for this turn. 
Feint - Spend an Expertise Die to get Advantage on your next attack, spend two Expertise Dice to give Advantage to an ally's next attack.  
Beat Feet - Roll your expertise dice, add the highest to your speed for this round (maybe roll x5 since we don't measure in squares anymore). 
A Little Luck - Give up an expertise die to make a Skill check as part of another action.  This check is made with Disadvantage.

Etc.